|Taken early this morning as the sun was coming up.|
All those sweetness and light ads making you assume that Christmas is about buying stuff to make people happy are evil. Not everyone is able to buy food this time of year, much less an automobile, French perfume or an exercise bike! I hate the commercialism more than anything. Yes, there are lovely decorative lights covering homes (adding to global warming), there are rich and delicious foods (contributing to obesity and diabetes), and there are numerous parties where you have to find another fancy dress and hire that expensive babysitter to make small talk with people you barely know. (I do not get invited to any of these anymore, needless to say). OK, I will give you the music. That is the good stuff. (Unless it starts getting played before Thanksgiving.) Yes, I am Debbie Downer today!
I am almost in tears right now as I type this because that young man who knocked on my door asking for chores a few weeks ago so that he could bring home some food is back this morning. We gave his number to the food pantry folks and maybe they called. Maybe his mother was too proud and hung up on them. Maybe she accepted the charity and her family can eat again. I do not know, but on this snowy day with schools closed, this young man is back asking to shovel my driveway. It will be totally melted by this afternoon as most of the snow has disappeared where the sun hits the driveway. He asked for maybe $20. I, of course, said I would love to have him shovel it. I am thinking of having him shovel my back deck so I can pay him more. I do not know how far he walked to get to my house. I also realize he does not want charity and I am being careful.
An hour later he knocks on my door and as I pay him and hand him a bag of persimmon bread and homemade cookies, he tells me he has graduated from high school and is taking classes when he can at the local community college. That is good news although he seems to lack the sharpness and sophistication that will be needed when he moves forward into adulthood. I ask for his number and tell him my husband may call if he needs a young helper. He is really pleased with the baked goods and gives me a surprising hug.
I wish I could believe in a God, but this just makes my heart so heavy that such poverty is common. It is not some Christmas novel, it is real life and I hate that children have to deal with this! I just drove my very privileged and lovely grandchildren back home with their dirty clothes separated so that the "maids" can do the laundry. Along the trip they had their faces glued to their various technology toys. They are good kids, but I have serious concerns about whether they will understand the world. Even more, I wish I was rich enough to start a foundation in this county that can help families like this young man's. Yes, we all give to various foundations, but it is not enough.
Looking forward to getting past this time of year.